MARIUS 2: IS HISTORY DOOMED TO BE REPEATED? - As a follow-up to an article previously written, read ‘Senseless Slaughter of Marius the Giraffe‘ another young giraffe is slated for extermination in Denmark; this time at a different zoo. Coincidentally, the 7 year old is also named Marius and for clarity I will refer to him as Marius 2.
Recently accepted into the European breeding program, the Jyllands zoo is looking to acquire a female giraffe in hopes that she may become pregnant and bless the zoo with a baby. Currently they have two male giraffes and it has already been decided that when a female becomes available Marius 2 will have to die.
For the complete article read … The Guardian
As with the first Marius, the international community is speaking out along with an online petition that has already grown to over 119,442 signatures. I find it quite interesting that as before, benefactors have come forward who are interested in acquiring Marius 2 and as yet, they have received no response from zoo authorities.
One benefactor is Ramzan Kadyrov the president of Chechnya in Russia who is well known for his love of animals and has his own personal exotic zoo. Unfortunately, Kadyrov is also known internationally for his politics which include allegations of torture and human rights abuses leaving the public unsure how they should feel about his offer.
Granted, it is not up to the public to make this decision and it is not entirely up to Jyllands Park Zoo which is currently home for Marius 2. As in the case of Marius 1, the EAZA manages all zoo business and will make the final decision concerning the fate of Marius 2.
The second benefactor comes from the United States and is willing to not only pay for the animal but to also provide all transportation costs to safely bring Marius 2 to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the zoo was appalled at the death of Marius 1 and had this to say:
“No matter what kind of living creatures you have in a zoo, there’s a responsibility for zookeepers to take care of them throughout their lifetime. If we don’t do that, we shouldn’t have zoos.”
Having raised more than $100,000 in three hours, contributions are still pouring in and Hanna has made the decision to start a fund using the monies to save other giraffes that otherwise may be slaughtered.
This whole idea of exterminating young, healthy animals is reprehensible and reveals a total disregard of life. When animals are old or infirm, we expect their handlers to show compassion and end their suffering but when they are young and otherwise healthy as in the case of both Marius 1 & 2, the slaughter of Marius 1 became that more horrifying and the current situation with Marius 2 a matter of greater international attention and scrutiny.
I would like to call the Zoological Societies around the world to come together and figure a way to work alongside one another, set international guidelines and requirements governing the care for each animal and to use the animals in their care to the fullest. By this, I mean to share healthy animals with other zoos in an exchange program in order to bring newborns to each and by performing surgery on those animals that have bred one or two cycles-preventing them from future breeding and creating a situation of overpopulation.
It is of utmost importance that zoos have standards and through an organization such as the EAZA, all animals under their rule are assured of receiving the same high quality care. Smaller privatized or personal zoos are not subjected to the same guidelines and while it may be seen as a charitable move on the part of an EAZA zoo to take in an animal which has had questionable care it may also bring disease into an otherwise healthy environment.
In the same way, for the EAZA to release an animal into the care of a zoo without the same standards -not a part of EAZA- the animal may be subjected to neglect and an early death with no legal recourse. With a ruling body like the EAZA in charge that would oversee all national zoos, there would be some assurance that certain standards will be maintained in the provision and care of any zoo animal.
It may be a farfetched idea, but an international group formed by any country desiring to participate would be a great way to share ideas, in the exchange of animals and a way to encourage and support the zoological community. It could reinforce standards of care in the national zoos and help provide funding for their growth.
Zoos are big business and I can’t remember ever hearing of one closing. The zoo near where I live is open year round and has indoor buildings for the animals during the harsh winter months. Regular attenders of the zoo, we have taken our children and now our grandchildren to see and learn about animals from around the world.
Every zoo is a gift; a place of wonder where anyone can visit and experience a world filled with animals, insects and plants from every corner of the planet. It brings an awareness and appreciation for Nature that cannot be gained by reading from a book or watching a movie.
Those opposed to zoos believe that by taking an animal out of their habitat only to have them live in captivity can be compared to our current prison system filled with incarcerated inmates.
While I agree, I also believe that when an animal is taken care of properly and in an environment that is as close to their natural environment as possible that not only can the animal live a life without the dangers of predators, but that we as observers and visitors to the zoo can learn about them and how our worlds collide.
This awareness of their needs and how we disrupt their homes is crucial for the next generation to understand if we are to protect the Earth. In fact, some of the very animals on the endangered and protected species lists have found safe haven within the confines of the local zoos.
Zoos have been the center of controversy for years and the stories of Marius 1 and 2 are bringing public awareness on the issues of overpopulation and extermination front and center where it belongs. If we do not learn from what happened to Marius 1, we are sure to see Marius 2 also condemned to die along with countless other animals, simply because they are no longer wanted.
We need to become accountable for the lives of animals who are kept within the confines of a zoo as much as guardians of the animals that roam the Earth. It is our responsibility to teach our children the importance of life, for if we do not we will continue seeing animals senselessly slaughtered in our zoos as well as animals and plants placed on the endangered and protected lists.
Speak up for Marius 2 and other animals that populate our zoos. Whether you agree with the idea of a zoo or not, we can all agree that there should be no tolerance for the senseless slaughter of any animal. Do not allow history to repeat itself.
If you would like to be pro-active and add your voice to others please sign the petition